A new month starts Wednesday night for the Hawks and with it, a renewed sense of purpose. The Hawks went 10-5 in November, their best November since the 1997-98 season, but finished the month by losing three of four.
"I think more than anything, we tend to come out maybe sometimes not on the same page," guard Joe Johnson said. "It happens, but we have to address each other before each game and make sure everybody's on the right page. We want to have a good month of December, so I'm sure we'll do it."
Johnson also said that he believed the team could win the Eastern Conference. The top seed in the East has won an average of 61.6 games over the past five seasons. To get to 61 wins, that would mean that 10-5 actually would put the Hawks behind schedule.
"This is a team that still has never been in that position" to challenge for a division or conference title, swingman Mo Evans said. "Now to be in position to win 50 or 60, that's pretty uncharted territory. It's new to us and still a learning process, and it's still early in the season."
Coach Mike Woodson said that against Toronto, the Hawks have to do the things they did during their seven-game winning streak --- defend, rebound and share the ball. In the Hawks' seven-game run, they averaged 23.3 assists per game. In the past four games, the average is 16.5.
Against Detroit, Evans said, "we got frustrated and some of our old tendencies still showed up as far as, when we hit adversity, not coming together, everyone going their separate ways."
The Hawks do have an opportunity to make headway. Of their 14 games this month, nine of them are against teams below .500.
After watching video of the Detroit loss, "we know we've got to do better as a team," forward Marvin Williams said. "I think guys are really ready to make that effort [Wednesday] night."
Entering Tuesday's games, forward Josh Smith is leading the NBA in blocks at 2.7 per game. Center Al Horford was tied for sixth with his former Florida teammate Joakim Noah and Houston's Luis Scola with nine double-doubles. Johnson was ninth in minutes per game at 38.6. Guard Mike Bibby was 10th in assist/turnover ratio (3.1). Guard Jamal Crawford is second in scoring among players who have not started a game (16.9).
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